Fundraising for Florence

A TEAM of runners did their bit to raise thousands of pounds to help a child suffering from a rare illness.

10k runners and fundraising for Florence

Now efforts are about to be heading downhill, literally.

Team Florence made their way around the Manchester 10K course on Sunday, May 19, raising £2,000 to help treatment for five-year-old Florence Croce.

And the girl herself also took part, being pushed around in a specially adapted wheelchair by her mother Jenny.

Sarah Knibb, Chris Lane, Tam Self, Simon Woods, Millie Hardman, Mike Ball, Sion Jones, Lorna Gooch, Caroline Broadrick, Dave Jakeman, Tina Kershaw, Paul Todkill, James Brown, Rosie Gnatiuk, Julie Jakeman and Helena Mead all made their way around the city in one hour 12 minutes.

The next stage will see ‘Team Florence’ joined by Massimo Malacrino as they do the Velocity 2 Zipwire challenge at Penrhyn Slate Quarry in Bethesda, North Wales on June 5.

There they will reach speeds of up to 100mph on the 1,555 metre long wire, the fastest in the world as they hope to give Florence the best memories with her brother Riccardo and give a chance of making clinical trials happen.

Jenny launched the ‘Fundraising for Florence’ campaign after her toddler was diagnosed with Late-infantile Gangliosidosis (GM1) in November 2016.

The disorder, which affects just one person in 250,000, progressively destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and currently has no known cure.


However, doctors in Alabama, America, have found a cure in cats and it is hoped clinical trials on humans can take place soon – possibly including Florence.

So, Jenny has set about fundraising to help make the trials a reality – and more than £40,000 has already been raised and it will also support the Cure GM1 Foundation.

The condition has already taken her ability to walk and talk, and will next take her sight, hearing, mobility and swallowing, and possibly her life around the age of 10.

But determined Jenny is doing everything she can to make life better for Florence and her older brother Riccardo.

“Part of the money gets sent to America to support the trials and part pays for extra private support Florence had such as cranial osteopath, homeopath and a chiropractor,” she explained.

“Also part of the money is used to create beautiful memories for Florence and Riccardo.

“Her diagnosis had totally turned my world upside down, but I’m determined to do everything I possibly can to make her life the best it can be.”

Some of the money raised is also being spent on supporting and caring for Florence, who attends Oakdale Special Needs School full time on a nursery placement.

Jenny also hopes to adapt the garden of her home to make it more accessible for Florence.

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